The 2016 season kicks off on Thursday night, September 8 on NBC (8:30 PM ET) when the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos host the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of Super Bowl 50, won by the Broncos 24-10. The game marks the first Super Bowl rematch played on Kickoff Weekend since 1970 when the Kansas City Chiefs opened the season against the Minnesota Vikings after defeating the Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV. The Broncos enter the game with a .655 winning percentage (36-19-1) in season-opening games, the second-best record in the NFL (Dallas, .673, 37-18-1). Denver aims for its fifth consecutive victory on Kickoff Weekend, while Carolina looks to extend its season-opening winning streak to three.
|REGULAR SEASON SERIES|
|STREAKS||3 of past 4|
|COACHES VS. OPP.||Ron Rivera: 0-2||Gary Kubiak: 1-0|
|LAST GAME||11/11/12: Broncos 36 at Panthers 14. Denver QB Peyton Manning throws for 301 yards & TD. Broncos PR Trindon Holliday has 76-yard PR-TD.|
|LAST GAME AT SITE||10/10/04: Broncos 20, Panthers 17. Denver QB Jake Plummer passes for 226 yards & 2 TDs. Broncos RB Reuben Droughns rushes for 193 yards.|
|BROADCAST||NBC (8:30 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Tony Boselli (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Car), 81 (Den). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Car), 225 (Den).|
|PASSING||Newton: 296-495-3837-35 (T2L)-10-99.4||Siemian (Pre.): 27-43-285-1-2-70.4|
|RUSHING||Stewart: 242-989-4.1-6||Anderson: 152-720-4.7-5|
|RECEIVING||Olsen (TE): 77-1104-14.3-7||Thomas: 105-1304-12.4-6|
|SACKS||Short: 11||Miller: 11|
|INTs||Coleman: 7 (T3L)||Talib: 3|
|PUNTING||Lee (Cle.): 46.7||Dixon (R) (Pre.): 41.9|
|KICKING||Gano: 146 (2L) (56/59 PAT; 30/36 FG)||McManus: 125 (35/36 PAT; 30/35 FG)|
GAME MARKS 1st SB rematch on KO Weekend since 1970 (KC vs. Min)…PANTHERS: Advanced to SB 50…Won division for 6th time (1996, 2003, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015) last year…QB CAM NEWTON named NFL MVP in 2015. Became only player ever with 30+ pass TDs (35) & 10+ rush TDs (10) in season…RB JONATHAN STEWART had 1,088 scrimmage yards in 2015, 3rd career season with 1,000+ scrimmage yards…TE GREG OLSEN led team in catches (77) & rec. yards (1,104) last season & had 7 TDs. Only NFL TE with 5+ rec. TDs in each of past 8 seasons…LB LUKE KUECHLY led team with 118 tackles in 2015. Since entering NFL in 2012, leads league with 591 tackles. LB THOMAS DAVIS has 816 career tackles, 3rd among active NFC LBs. DE KONY EALY had 3 sacks & INT in SB 50. S KURT COLEMAN has 18 INTs since 2011, tied for 2nd among S (incl. playoffs)…BRONCOS: Won 3rd SB last season…QB TREVOR SIEMIAN makes 1st career start. Broncos are 1st defending SB champ to start QB with 0 career pass att. in season opener…RB C.J. ANDERSON has 5 rush TDs in past 5 at home (incl. playoffs)…WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS led team in catches (105) & rec. yards (1,304) last season. Is only Bronco with 4 consecutive 1,200-yard seasons. Since 2012, ranks 2nd in NFL with 5,787 rec. yards. Only NFL player with 5,500+ rec. yards (5,787) & 40+ rec. TDs (41) since 2012. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS had 1,135 rec. yards last year, his 2nd consecutive 1,000-yard season…Broncos led NFL in total (283.1 yards per game) & pass defense (199.6 yards per game). LB VON MILLER won SB 50 MVP & had 2.5 sacks with 2 FFs. In past 2 (AFC CG & SB), has 5 sacks, 2 FFs & INT. Since 2011, ranks 2nd in NFL with 60 sacks. LB DE MARCUS WARE is 2nd among active players with 134.5 career sacks. Incl. SB, Ware has 7.5 sacks, 3 FFs & FR in 6 games vs. Car. Ware’s teams are 6-0 in those meetings. Since 2008,CB AQIB TALIB leads NFL with 8 INT-TDs.